Mr Morgan with wife Denise
Mr Morgan with wife Denise

Ripon schoolboy helps save man’s eyesight

27 July 2022

Alexander Pickering, 15, was on a placement at Specsavers in Ripon when holidaymaker John Morgan, who was suffering from blurred vision, called in.

The teenager ran the diagnostic scan which alerted the optician to something unusual in the retina and Mr Morgan was urgently referred to Harrogate Hospital, which quickly revealed a dangerous blockage in the main retinal vein, a condition which can lead to a permanent loss of vision.

John Morgan said:

Thankfully, because I was diagnosed so early, there is a chance I can save my eye and maintain some vision.

Alexander  has been trained to use the 3D optical diagnostic scanner, which can detect sight threatening eye conditions early

Alexander said:

I was really pleased that the pre-test I did picked up Mr Morgan’s eye condition.

Thankfully, the optician was able to confirm the diagnosis and contacted the hospital to make an immediate appointment for him. If it had not been picked up, he could have gone blind.’

The Year 10 student, who will be taking his GCSEs next year and is aiming for a career in healthcare, said: “I was thrilled to play a small part in a much bigger team of people at Specsavers, in helping to save someone’s sight.

I never expected to learn so much and achieve something so worthwhile during my work experience.

Alexander at work
Alexander at work

John Morgan, from Salford,  is keen to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations following his shock diagnosis, will now need an injection in his eye every month for the next year.

John said:

I may not fully get all of my vision back, however if undiagnosed, I could have completely gone blind in that eye.

Alexander, who was on a work placement and conducted the pre-test, initially scanned my eye and flagged an issue with optician Caroline Sullivan immediately.

The team at Ripon Specsavers were fantastic and got me in for an appointment straight away and even organised my hospital appointment.

Alexander was very polite and confident in what he was doing. I am sure he will make a success of whatever career he chooses. He is a credit to his parents and his school.

Alexander, who has been offered part-time work as a customer services assistant at the store in addition to his work experience placement, is being trained in customer service as well as in the use of scanning equipment.

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